Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Cherry fruit scones

My sister made some delicious scones at the weekend. This inspired me to make a gluten free version with a little twist. I introduce, fruit scones with added fruit yogurt. Why mix plain yogurt when there are so many tasty varieties waiting to be tested in scone mixture? I used black cherry in this recipe, but you can swap this for any fruit - dried apricots with apricot or peach yogurt, spiced apple with apple yogurt, dried pinapple with tropical fruit yogurt....... you get the picture. There are so many combinations to try. For savoury, just switch back to the plain yogurt and add your cheese or bacon bits to the dough. Enjoy!

12 oz GF flour mix
4 tsp xanthan gum powder
a good couple of pinches of sea salt
4 tablespoons of brown sugar
4 oz of butter
4 oz mixed, dried fruit
2 large eggs
4 fl oz of black cherry yogurt

1 Preheat the oven to 190 o C/375 f/ gas mark 5

2. Sift all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl

3. Rub in the butter so that the mix resembles fine bread crumbs

4. With a wooden spoon, stir in the dried fruit

5. Whisk together eggs and yogurt

6. Make a well in the centre of the dry mix and pour in the yogurt and egg

7. Turn out onto a floured surface and lightly kneed until the dough comes together and is smooth in texture.

8. Roll the dough out so that it is 1 1/2 inches thick, cut out with cookie or scone cutter.

9. Place on a floured baking tray and cook in the oven for 10 minutes or so, or until brown and slightly risen.


Lovely buttered with a dollop of jam, a little clotted cream and a nice, hot cup of tea.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Pie!


The basic premise for pastry can be used for most pastry based dishes. It doesn't have to be complicated. My son had a longing for a good old fashioned meat pie - mince and onion, no less. No problem! You can use this recipe for making pasties too. Add sugar to the pastry mix for fruit pies or for the base of lemon merrangue pie for example. The results were pretty impressive. A lovely, buttery pastry with a nice crumble to it, just like the 'real thing'. Needless to say, there were no leftovers!
Basic pastry mix
8 oz GF flour mix (I used Glutano)
4 oz of butter or margerine
1 egg
a pinch of sea salt (if making sweet pastry, replace this with 2 oz of caster sugar)
2-3 tablespoons of water
Rub the flour and butter together until they resemble fine bread crumbs. Add the sat or sugar and mix well.
Beat the egg and add tot he flour mix, mix in with a fork, add a little water until the dough comes together. At this point begin mixing and lightly kneading the dough together until it it is smooth and non sticky. You can add a little more flour as you knead it is necessary.
Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Roll out and use as ordinary pastry. It may be a little more fragile that ordinary dough - but not too much, so handle accordingly.
For the filling, we used minced beef steak, fried with onions. I am not big on proportions, add as much meat and onion as you prefer. For the gravy I used Bisto gravy (beef flavour) Both the beef and chicken varieties are gluten free and absolutley delicious. I lightly seasoned the mince and onion before adding the gravy. It is best to let the meat and gravy mixture cool before you put them into the pastry shell. In fact, I prefer to put the meat into the pie dish and just have a top layer of pastry.
Brush with a little egg and milk glaze and cook for 30 minutes or so on Gas mark 4, 350 f, 180 c - until lightly golden.
Enjoy!

Friday, 27 July 2007

Doughnut Magic! (Churros)




Don't you just hate it when you walk past the doughnut maker in the local market or fair? Fear not, you can make your own and bathe in the nostalgia of eating warm sugared dougnuts! The doughnuts will be in the shape of strips like churros - delicious!

12 fl oz of warm (not hot) milk
1 teaspoon of salt
2 1/2 oz caster sugar
8 oz of Gluten free flour
2 teaspoons of xanthan gum
2 teaspoons of yeast granules
oil for deep frying
1 teaspoon of mixed spice or cinnamon (optional)

Pour milk, salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the sugar into the breadmaker pan

Add the flour, xanthan gum and yeast

Set the machine to the 'dough' setting.

When kneaded and proved, heat the oil for deep frying to 190 degrees C, or until a cube of GF bread browns in 30 seconds.

You can either put the dough in a piping bag, or make one with a heavy duty freezer bag (with the corner snipped off) Pipe the mixture into the heated oil, cutting off pieces at 3 inch sections.

Fry for around 4 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through, turning the doughnuts over as required. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

Toss the pieces in a bag containing the remaining sugar and spices, serve while still warm and fresh.

Recipe notes: I used a heavy duty freezer bag to pipe strips of the fluffy dough out, and it was thick enough to make loops as it emerged out of the bag to create doughnuts witht he holes in the middle. Doughnuts old skool! There is nothing stopping you from icing them before serving, adding sprinkles or whatever you fancy.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Gluten Free Bread machine


Forget the hype of the bread machines that boast a 'gluten free cycle'. I had pondered on replacing the Morphy Richards bread machine that I had, because I had nothing but gluten free house bricks from it. As a matter of fact I much favoured making gluten free bread by hand. Let's face it, it isn't hard work on the old muscles, so I just resigned myself to doing it this way. I didn't and still don't really mind that.


That said, I found a recipe recently for a Milk Loaf that calls for a bread machine. Any old bread machine, no fancy schmancy machine with a slick GF cycle. So, I gave it a spin and HOLY SHIT the results were good! The bread has the wonderful mouthfeel that is sorely missing in the commercial offerings. It is springly, has the real bread 'chew' it looks like fresh bread, tastes like fresh bread, it is a bloody breakthrough. Not only that (if that wasn't enough) it behaves itself. By that I mean it keeps that real bread texture so that it is a lunchbox dream come true. No refreshing in the oven. That bacon sandwich you crave with the gorgeous bread? This is the bread that you have been waiting for.


Milk Loaf

1 large egg
9 fluid oz (1 1/4 cups) of milk
15ml/ 1 tablespon of vegetable oil
4ml/3/4 teaspoon of salt
15 ml/ 1 tablespoon of caster (superfine) sugar
8 oz/ 2 cups of white rice flour or GF bread flour
10ml/ 2 teaspoons of xanthan gum
1 sachet of easy blend dried yeast

Beat together the egg and milk and pour into the bread making pan

Add all the remaining ingredients, in the order listed

Set the machine to 'Basic', 700g/1 1/2 lb/ medium colour crust, let it run through the usual cycle, but when it begins to cook, allow it to cook for only 40 minutes or so, or until the crust is golden that the loaf starts to shrink slightly back from the pan.

When it has cooked, switch off the bread machine and allow the bread to cool inside the machine for 10 minutes.

Turn out the bread onto a wire rack to cool. Remove paddle when cooled enough (that is if the paddle didn't work it's way loose when turning the bread out of the pan).

When cooled it will keep in the bread bin for four days, or you can slice it and freeze it. It freezes very well and defrosts to the same quality.


Recipe notes:

The bread will not go crazy and rise like an ordinary loaf - but it still rises well. To be honest with you, it tasted so perfect I didn't care, but if you want larger pieces of bread cut the bread slices on the bias. Gorgeous, wonderful - delicious.... did I say it was good? It is perfect. Yup.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Creamy Red Lentil Dahl and Chargrilled flatbreads


Deliciously creamy and satisfying. Surprisingly simple to make. What more could anyone ask for? Scoop up the curry with the flatbread, squeeze on some fresh lemon juice - heaven!

Creamy Lentil Dahl and Chargrilled flatbreads
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 medium onion
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, finely grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon of sea salt, crumbled
1 cup of dried red lentils
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
5 tomatoes, skinned and chopped
juice of half a lemon (or lime)
a handful of chopped corriander
2 tablespoons of single cream

Spices
2 teaspoons of fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoons of corriander seeds
1 teaspoons of cumin seeds
5 whole cloves
4 cardamom pods

a pinch of dried chilli flakes
1/4 teaspoons of cinnamon

Dry fry the seeds in a pan (not the chilli flakes) for a few minutes. Take off the heat and allow to cool. Place the cooled seeds, chilli and cinnamon and grind to a fine poweder.

In a large saucepan saute the onions in the oil for 4 or 5 minutes until soft, and the ginger and garlic and saute for a few minutes more. Add the spice mix and salt and saute again for a few minutes more.

Add the stock and stir well. Add the tomato puree and lentils, bring to the boil and then turn the heat down so the contents are simmering. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes, lemon/lime juice and corriander. Simmer for 10 minutes until the lentils are tender. Stir in the cream.


Flatbreads

9 oz of Gluten Free flour
2 tablespoons of Gram (chickpea) flour
1 teaspoon of gluten free baking powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt, crumbled
2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 3/4 of butter
5-6 fluid ounces of warm water
oil spray

Sift the flours and baking powder into a bolw, crumble in the sea salt. Chop the butter into small cubes, drop into the flour and rub in thoroughly until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
Stir in the water with a fork and once the dough starts to ball together, work the dough together with your hands.

On a lightly floured board, knead the dough until a smooth, soft dough forms. Divide into six balls and wrap in clingfilm. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

The pasty is fragile, so I found it easier to roll each bread out betwen clingfilm or parchement paper. Don't worry if it looks rough around the edges, that is part of the breads charm. Spray onve side with oil and flip into a heated griddle pan. Cook until golden and chargrilled on one saide, spray the other side with oil and turn over with a fish slice. keep each warm as you cook the rest.


Serve with curry, lemon segments and corriander.

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Scrumptious Quiche


As a time saver I often use the recipe for the pizza base as a base for my quiche with great results. However, if you want to take a it a step further and grab that gorgeous short crust pastry mouth-feel, then I have it here. I have experimented with flour blends before with varying degrees of success, but I think I have cracked it with this one. Everyone has their favourite flour that they put into a blend for a pastry with more depth of flavour - for me, it has to be the most readily available, which is Gram flour (chick pea flour). You can buy this quite readily in most supermarkets, healthfood shops and Asian supermarkets. Enjoy!



Scrumptious, Gluten Free Quiche

3 oz of GF bread flour mix (I used Dove farm, which is rice flour based)
3 oz Gram flour
3oz of fine grade gluten free flour (Glutano flour mix is great)
1 1/2 teaspoons of xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, crumbled
5 oz of margerine or butter
1 large egg
2 tablespoons of water


For the filling

3 large eggs
a splash of milk
a pinch of crushed sea salt
a couple of grinds of black pepper
1/2 a small onion, diced
3 oz of cheese (I used cheddar) grated


Sift all of the flours and xantham gum into a mixing bowl. Crumble in sea salt and mix with a fork until thoroughly combined.

Break the butter or margerine into smaller pieces and rub into the flour with fingertips until you have a fine breadcrumb like texture. To ensure that you get an even crumb, shake the bowl to bring the larger pieces to the surface and then rub them into the flour mix until dispersed.

Slowly add the water and egg and stir with a fork until it starts to come together into a dough ball. This is the point where you ditch the fork and bring the mixture together until it all of the contents is together.

It is very importnat that the dough is not too wet. The dryer it is, the less likely it is to dry out in the oven and shrink back.

Knead together until the dough becomes smoother in texture.

Chill for 20 minutes in the fridge before using, pop the dough in a freezer bag before hand.

Grease and flour a metal quiche pan.

Flour the dough and chopping board and roll with a floured pin. This is where it becomes a little more difficult because the dough is dryer, but persevere, because the results are worth it!

Place the quiche pan over the rolled out dough and flip the board over so that the dough fals into the pan. The dough will crack slightly, but these can easily be blended together once the dough is in the pan. Build the dough up the sides of the pan. Any gapsor imperfections can be easily mended with any left over dough.

Beat together the eggs and milk and season to taste.

Lightly saute the onion, add this, along witht he cheese to the egg mixture. Pour the mixture into the pastry shell

Bake in a preheated oven (180 degrees c/ 350 deg f/ gas mark 4 until the egg sets and the crust is golden.


Recipe notes:

Vary to taste, by removing the onion or cheese, adding bacon, mushroom etc. Replace the cheese with a different variety - let your imagination run wild. Flavour the pastry with herbs and cracked black pepper.

This was divine, well worth messing with an experimental flour blend - the gram flour really made a difference. One slice left in the fridge - I think there will be a fight over it!

Thursday, 31 May 2007

Spotted.... Ikea, you are a star





Whilst browsing the local Ikea store last weekend I noticed that they have caught onto the idea that people with gluten and wheat intolerance actually like to eat out sometimes. Good old Ikea, this is another excuse to road test what is on the market as far as restaurant/cafe food is concerned.


In the mean time - here is what they are offering:


(Ignore the irony of the bread roll offered with the soup...)

Hot soup (and roll) offer £1.50:

"Enjoy a hot bowl of soup. All are Gluten free, Low in fat, Low in salt - suitable for Vegetarians".

From the kid's menu:

Oven Baked Haddock with Chips:

Kids' oven baked mini Haddock fillet with chips and vegetables.£1.00
(not marked as gluten free on the site - but clearly marked as gluten free on their menu) If you are not a kid, double up and buy two, it is a damned bargain!


From the desert menu:

Almond cake
Free from preservatives and colouring, also gluten free.
£1.35


This cake is also sold in the grocery shop in Ikea:

Almond cakes
Almond cakes gluten free Buy 2 for £4.50 or 3 for £6.50 having a party buy 4 for £8.75
£2.75 each

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Bread rolls




Anyone else get fed up with trying recipes that just didn't seem to deliver their promises? If I follow a bread recipe, I expect the result to resemble exactly that - bread. Not a cobble stone. Knowing how easy it is to get great results made me a little more miffed about my disgusting Starbuck's sandwich ordeal. Blech!

No need for bread machines for this, it is all done by hand. The results were pretty damned good. This is the problem with this blog, I find that I 'test' the results ofthe recipes a little too much. Three bread rolls later and my taste buds were screaming Yes! Yes! Yes!

Remember, the ammount of milk and water added will vary slightly depending on the flour mix that you use. I use the fine grade flour mixes (Glutano) which is much more powdery that Rice flour for example. As a result I keep an extra 4 fluid ounces of milk and water and add as necessary. You will know when it is right, the dough/batter should be thick and smooth in consistancy.


Serve these with soups, great for sandwiches as they are so moist. Or, spread with salted butter and eat them fresh from the oven. Which is what I did - and accidently ate three before I realised.....

This recipe makes 12 medium sized rolls:


Bread rolls

24 ounces of fine grade GF flour (I use Glutano)
3 x 5ml teaspoons of easy blend yeast
1/2 pint of semi skimmed milk
4 fluid ounces of boiling water
2 ounces of salted butter, melted
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten


Mix together flour and yeast until evenly combined

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together until you have a thick smooth batter/dough

Spray a sheet of clingfilm with vegetable oil and cover the bowl with it.

Leave to prove for an hour or so, in a warm place, until the mixture has risen close to the top of your bowl.

Remove the cling film and mix the dough with a fork lightly.

Spoon out bap sized dough balls into your floured hands and lightly form into a bread roll shape.

Place rolls on a lightly greased baking tray (again I use spray oil) Once again, cover with a spray oiled sheet of cling film. Leave to prove in a warm place for 25 minutes or so.

Take a large roasting tin and half fill it with water, put this on the very bottom of the oven (literally on the bottom) The steam from this will bake the rolls and retain their fluffy moistness.

Cook the rolls on 190 degrees C/ 350 f/ Gas Mark 5 for 15 minutes until golden. If you need an extra 5 or so minutes to brown them off, they can take it and it won't dry them out.


Serve as you please, wth soup or in the lunchbox. They are beautifully soft - dare I say better than the real thing?


Why yes, yes I can.






Gluten Free Playdough!


Reason number two why Glutafin rocks my socks off! Browsing their site I realise that they really have thought of everything. The little things matter - and something as simple as playdough, which is taken for granted when you have small kids, becomes a huge and surprising issue if you have little ones who are gluten intolerant. This recipe for GF play dough makes me want to smooch glutafin's face off!


Gluten Free Play Dough!


1 1/2 cups of Gluten free, wheat free white mix

1 cup of salt

x2 15 ml spoons of vegetable oil

x2 15ml spoons of cream of tartar

1 3/4 cups of cold water

food colouring of your choice


1. Add all dry ingredients into a non-stick pan; gradually add the oil and water. Mix until smooth.

2. Place over alow heatand stir continuously until cooked (pinch it, if it feels sticky, cook for longer)

3. Allow to cool and wrap on cling film, only unwrap when the kids want to get creative.


Keeps the kids busy while you put your feet up and have a cup of coffee - everyone's a winner!

What's your prescription?




After years of putting up with the vacuum packed gluten free breads that need refreshing in the microwave, I thought that there would never be a bread that I could use for packed lunches. To be honest with you, I just gave up on sandwiches and got creative (quiche, home baked chicken nuggets and waffles) So, when renewing the prescription, imagine my delight when the receptionist told me about Glutafin's fresh white sliced loaf. No toaster or microwave refreshing, just soft white bread. This bread is seriously the best on the market right now. At a push the other traditional gluten free breads are good for toasting, but this loaf is a dream come true. This is the closest that you can get to a fresh bread taste, and it is damned good. Even those who are not gluten intolerant, who I offered this to were pleasantly surprised.

The best thing about this loaf is that it is available on prescription. This means that it counts as one prescription item, but what you get is a box of 8 loaves. It stays fresh for up to 5 days from the date on the tag and it freezes beautifully. Freezing it does not affect the quality, the taste or texture at all. I simply take four slices from the frozen loaf and defrost it betwen two sheets of kitchen paper or a clean tea towel. It is defrosted and ready to make into sandwiches in around 30 minutes.

For the first time, my son felt like all of the other kids who took packed lunches to school, lovely soft sandwiches like everyone else. These little things mean alot when you are a kid. Hell, they mean alot for anyone struggling to think of what to pack for a GF lunch!

Thankyou Glutafin, you rock!

Here is the link for the bread:

http://www.glutafin.co.uk/en/basic.asp?page=freshBread&chse_description=product+range

Monday, 28 May 2007

Cinnamon Cranapple Muffins




You can never have too many muffin recipes - this batch has been made in honour of a friend of mine, who just loves Cinnamon Cranapple. You know that you have hit a good combo, when you eat most of the batch whilst you are taking pictures of them. Guilty as charged!




The dry ingredients here is enough to make 4 batches of muffins. Mix the entire quantity up and bag the rest up in 3 sturdy food bags. This will save time when you want to make more (*cough* I need to make more tommorow) and it is handy to take with you if you are staying with family and want to whip something up without much fuss.




Cinnamon Cranapple Muffins

3 cups of all purpose GF flour
1/2 cup of rice flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 tablespoon of egg replacer
1 1/2 teaspoons of xanthan gum
1/3 cup of sugar
2 teaspoon of cinnamon




To make muffins:


Place one cup of the dry mixture in a bowl.


Wet mixture


2 eggs
2 tablespoons of melted butter
1/3 cup of buttermilk
Chopped bramley apple
a handfull of dried cranberries


In a smaller bowl or cup, whisk two eggs, 2 tablespoons of melted butter and a 1/3 cup of buttermilk (or full fat milk/soya milk).

Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk until you have a smooth batter.

Peel and chop a bramley apple (granny smith or cooking apples work well too). Dust the apple, until coated with a little GF flour, take a handful of dried cranberries and flour these also. Fold the fruit into the batter.

Spoon the mixture into 10 muffin cases, or a well greased muffin tray.

Cook on 375 F/190 C

You can remove and replace the fruit and spices in this, try adding apricots, almonds, peaches, chopped pears, cherries, grated carrot and ginger... the possibilities and combinations are endless.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Starbuck's Gluten Free Sandwich - a review


A few weeks ago whilst in Starbucks I was excited (and a little surprised) to see that they have started to run a small line of gluten free sandwiches. When I say 'small line' I really mean that, one choice only - free range egg mayo. But, you know how it is, when you are so restricted with eating out, these little things get you all excited. I took note and promised myself I would road test it and write a review, and so here it is.

Starbucks Free range egg mayonnaise sandwich. Described quite poetically as 'Free range egg mayonnaise, with rocket and vine ripened tomatoes, seasoned with cracked black pepper on gluten free bread'. Interesting.

Remember, I had been anticipating this moment for three long weeks. I had waxed lyrical about how wonderfully forward thinking Starbucks were for thinking of the Gluten intolerant. Quite frankly I was ready to touch the hem of the garment of whomever had decided to put this on the market. I carefully unwrapped it (because at this point it looked quite appetising (this is before I had picked it up, for it to fall apart in my hands... ) The bread was just awful, I mean, really awful. Basically it was like rye bread in texture or the very worst pre-packed gluten free bread that you have ever bought. I chewed, and I chewed, and I chewed - but was almost too scared to swallow. It was dryer than a grassy field in West Texas. To add insult to injury, there was a mean amount of egg mayo in it - it's only saving grace, were the rocket for flavour and the tomato. Thank God for the tomato, because the juice in it helped me swallow the damned thing. Two hockey pucks would have been more appealing that the two slices of 'bread' that they used for this. Cake. I hate bread that tastes like grandma's dried up cake.

For the 'pleasure' of eating this they charged me £3.45, if I had taken it away, £2.95. Verdict - bloody awful. On the plus side, they were playing Jeff Buckley's version of 'Hallelujah' as I ate it. Beautiful song - and the irony was not lost on me. I suspect they put that song on every time someone takes one of these things off their hands.

Friday, 25 May 2007

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup with chickpea pancakes


This is comfort food at it's finest. Warming and creamy - the chick pea pancakes work wonderfully well. Dunk away!


Spiced Butternut Squash Soup


2 oz butter

1 large onion, finely diced

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 large butternut squash

1 tablespoon of minced fresh ginger root

1 cup of milk (or cream if you are feeling wicked)

5 cups of chicken stock (Kallo do a wonderful GF stock cube)

2 good pinches of all spice

Sea salt

Freshly Ground Pepper

dried mashed potato mix to thicken


Slice the squash lengthways. Oil a high sided cooking tray with olive oil and place both sides of squash, flesh down onto the tray. Cook for 45 minutes in the centre of a 200 degree oven.


While this is cooking, sautee the onion, ginger and garlic in the butter.


Add the broth and simmer for 10 minutes.


Once the squash has cooked, scoop out the seeds and discard. Scoop out the soft flesh and add to broth.


With a blending wand, blend together the squash and broth, until smooth. Ticken with mashed potato powder to your own requirements.


Season with the salt, pepper and the allspice.


Chickpea pancakes


8oz Gram (chickpea flour)

1 teaspoon sea salt, crushed

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

14 fluid oz water

vegetable oil for frying


Sift the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the water. With a whisk, combine the water and flour mix until you acheive a smooth batter.


Leave to stand for 15 minutes.


Heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan. Over a medium heat, pour a small quantity of batter into the pan. Make them any size that you prefer. I make mine on the small side.


Cook on once side for 3 minutes. With a spatula or pallette knife, turn the pancake and cook the other side until golden.


Continue until all of the batter is used.


Recipe notes:


You can replace the allspice in the soup with cinnamon - delicious. Dunk the pancakes into the soup for the real comfort food experience. The pancakes can be eaten alone as a snack, spread with peanut butter or cream cheese and chives.

Spicy Chicken Dippers











A firm favourite and a weekend treat for the kids, succulent strips of chicken breast in a spicy crumb. Ideal either as part of a meal or cold for lunchboxes. Enjoy!
Spicy Chicken Dippers


2 chicken breasts
Vegetable oil
1/2 cup of gluten free flour mix
1/2 cup of Gram (chickpea flour)
1/3 cup of cornflour
2 teaspoons of xanthan gum
1 tablespoon of mixed herbs

1 teaspoon paprika
freshly ground black pepper
1 desert spoon of crushed sea salt
3 generous pinches of chilli flakes (decrease the chilli content to taste)
1 large egg
splash of milk


Slice the chicken into strips

Mix together all of the dry ingredients in a sturdy freezer bag by sealing the top of the bag and shaking it to combine.

Whisk the egg and milk together and season with salt and pepper.

Dip the strips in the egg mixture and add to flour bag, four at a time. Shake to coat. continue until all strips are coated. Repeat to give the chicken another coat of egg, and again with flour.

Heat the oil in a wok or deep fat fryer. Fry the strips in batches until golden and cooked through.

Serve with potato wedges, salad and coleslaw. Alternatively, with chips/fries and ketchup.


Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Champion the wonder rolls!


This is a fantastic recipe for bread in a hurry. The beauty of this is that you don't require any yeast or 'proving' time. Again, it resembles a batter when mixing rather than a traditional 'dough', but the result is not really cake-like - and definitely tastes more like a soft bread.


Fruit and Walnut Bread Rolls


Mix dry ingredients together:


1 1/2 cups of gluten free flour

2 teaspoons of gluten free baking powder

1 teaspoon of xanthan gum

a pinch of crushed sea salt

1/3 cup of caster sugar

a handfull of chopped walnuts

a handful of dried fruit of your choice (dates, apricots, sultanas for example)


Mix wet ingredients together:


1 large egg beaten

I teaspoon of cider vinegar (if permitted)

2 oz butter

1 cup of warm water


Makes 8-10 small rolls or 4 large rolls


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, 380 F/Gas mark 4


Carefully combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix with a fork until you get a 'sloppy' batter consistancy.


grease a muffin tray or individual fruit pie pans and spray with oil or wipe around with oiled kitchen paper.


Spoon batter into the prepared tins, spreading to the edges if needed.


Bake for approximately 20 minutes, use a skewer to see if cooked (the skewer should come out clean when done). Allow to cool before removing from tins or trays.


Serve as they are, or slice open and butter liberally - a little jam is wonderful on these too.


Recipe notes:


For a plain roll, simply omit the sugar, fruit and nuts. Alternatively replace the fruit and nuts with cheese, grated cheddar, scallions, feta cheese and chives - let your imagination run wild. You may also use this recipe for pizza bases, spread onto a pizza pan and bake, add herbs and garlic to this if you wish. Why not try slicing up an un-topped pizza base with garlic and herb butter? Delicious!



Breakfast Basics











Breakfast in our house consists of toast, waffles, pancakes or cereal. Many of my gluten free bread disasters have been relegated to toast, because even if it does not turn out to be suitable for sandwiches, it is perfect for toasting amongst other things.


Cereal became a bit of an obsession with us, because so many supermarket cereals contained hidden glutens in the form of malt extract and so forth - and many were poorly labled to illustrate that fact. The most interesting that could be found was one or two brands of organic cornflakes. If you have smaller children on gluten free diets, you really want to offer something a little different - and they want that too, let's face it. The availability of gluten free cereals is still poor, even in health food shops, but if you know where to look, there are one or two places that sell something for the kids (or for the part of you that craves childrens cereals!)


We have tried most of what is available - and this is a small selection:

The 'Envirokidz' line of cereals is excellent. Nothing boring here, and their products are available both in the UK and the US.


Gorilla munch - little balls of corn puffs, sweetened with syrup. Delicious, the kids loved them. Easily as nice as any of the usual brands of forbidden cereals found on the supermarket shelves.


Koala Crisp - the Gluten free answer to cocoa pops! Rice cereal covered in cocoa, with all of the taste and Snap! Crackle! Pop!


I have found both cereals readily available in Waitrose. Unfortunately, our old outlet, Boots stopped stocking it.







Kallo do a nice simple, yet delicious range of gluten free products, amongst which are the puffed rice cereals, which come in 'Natural' unsweetened and Honey coated. This is a family favourite. We have found however, that healthfood shops tend to sell the honey coated at extortionate prices, you are going to get this cereal much cheaper in Sainsbury or Asda/ Walmart. For the kids, if you find it difficult to get the Envirokidz Cocoa pops, you can simply add chocolate milk to these. Actually, they prefer the Kallo cereal with chocolate milk on anyway (which is good for me as it is easier to source)



I have had fun thinking of new ideas when I am either budgeting or fund it difficult to find our usual brands. One which is alot of fun is to simply make some popcorn, sweeten it with a little demarara sugar and cinnamon and pour milk over for a deliciously different breakfast. The kids love it (and so do I!) Also, making up batches of your own meusli is good for a change, and making your own 'porridge' with Millet or rice flakes works very well for a hot cereal on a cold winters morning.

Monday, 21 May 2007

Perfect Pizza


This was a difficult one to master. I had tried so many recipes and combinations over the years and this one is by far the best. Before I made it I was worried about the lack of oil in the base, but was pleasantly surprised to find it was deliciously moist without it. One thing that I would point out is, that the ammount of water that you use is dependant on the Gluten free flour mix that you use, so use your own judgement. The dough mix does not look or behave like gluten dough. When mixed it should resemble a thick frosting/ icing. There is no rolling invoved, or kneading, but you will need to prove the dough. The recipe for the sauce is a great way to get vegetables into picky kids (or adults!) Feel free to add your own veg to the sauce, some may need to be steamed first (grated carrot, spinach etc)



Perfect gluten free pizza


Fo the pizza base...


225g/ 8oz Gluten free flour or Bread Mix
I desert spoon of Xanthan gum (this could be ommited, but adding it will give it a more authentic texture)
1 x 5ml tsp Dried yeast
200ml/ 7 fl oz hand hot water (use 1/3rd boiling water to 2/3 cold tap water)


Vegetable Puree


½ Medium red onion
½ Medium red pepper
1 Medium tomato
1 x 15ml tbsp Olive oil
2 x 5ml tsp Mixed fresh chopped oregano, basil or thyme
3 x 15ml tbsp Tomato puree/paste
1 Clove garlic, crushed
Pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper

For the topping...


75g/ 3oz Mozzarella cheese
handful of sliced mushrooms

A selection of your favourite toppings



1. Prepare pizza base. Combine Bread/flour Mix, xanthan gum and yeast together in a mixing bowl with a fork. Stir in the warm water with a fork and mix until you have a smooth thick batter that resembles frosting.


2. Spoon batter onto a 30cm/ 12" round shallow pizza pan. Use one with a solid base. Grease this with a little olive oil or spray with a good quality cooking oil. Spread batter out evenly with the back of a spoon (it is easier to spread if you pop the spoon in a little hot water first - or, flour hands and press out into the pan) and brush a 1cm/ ½" border with olive oil.


3. To make the vegetabe puree, place all the ingredients in a food processor and whizz to make a thick puree (I use a stick blender for this).Before I add the tomato, I prefer to remove the skin. To do this, make a shallow slash at either end, plunge into freshly boiled water and leave for 30 seconds, remove and the skin should slide away easily) I squash the tomato in with the rest of the puree ingredients before blitzing the lot with the stick blender. Spoon onto the pizza base leaving the rim clear.


4. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 45 minutes.
5. Remove film and oven bake for 20 minutes. Top with roughly diced mozzarella and the toppings of your choice - return to the oven for 10 minutes until the cheese has melted and is just starting to turn golden.


Recipe notes:


This recipe is enough for a family sized pizza. Serve slices with potato wedges, roasted in pepper and olive oil, salad and coleslaw. The base can also be adapted for savoury flans and quiche if you like them with a lighter base. Try adding herbs to the base mixture for an extra twist.


Involve the kids with adding the toppings - I involve them in most of my Gluten free exploits, with supervision it can be alot of fun. Also, I have found that the more I have involved them in the preparation of the food, the more likely they are to try the finished product. This is especially important if your child is new to the gluten free lifestyle. It is a difficult transition, depending on age, so giving them a little responsibility and power in the transition period is well worth the extra time.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Bonne bouche




Delicious snacks for the lunchbox - or for nibbles at dinner or drinks parties.

Bonne bouche

1 1/2 oz Gluten free flour mix
1/2 oz cornflour (cornstarch)
1/2 oz Gram (chickpea) flour
2 good pinches of crumbles sea salt
1 level tablespoon of Parmasan cheese, grated
3/4 oz butter
2 oz (1/3 cup) of mashed potato
1tbs water (as required)

Preheat oven to 375 f.190c/Gas mark 5

Put the GF flour mix, cornflour, gram flour, salt and cheese into a bowl. Mix well to combine.

Add the butter, and rub intot he flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add the potato and mix with the flour until the ingredients pull together into a doughball. Add the extra water if you feel the dough is too dry. Kneed for one minute in the bowl.

Break of a quarter of the dough, using a sprinkling of cornflour, roll into a sausage, around 6 inches long and cut of into 15 or so thin slices. Place onto a grewased baking sheet. Continue this process until you have used all of the dough.

Bake on the top shelf of your oven for approx 10 minutes, or until golden. Turn part way through.

Recipe notes:

Once cold, seal in an airtight container, eat within a week. You may add your own finely chopped herbs, chilli flakes or spices to your own tastes. Excellent for lunchboxes. I served this batch with a sweet chilli dip, cheese and chive dip would also work well. Alternatively, place a handfull of these little beauties on top of a ramekin of stew, casseroled meat or vegetables. If you want them a little more moist, I an thinking that the butter could be replaced with a nice full fat cream cheese. A little too nice, we ate them all within the hour - oops!

Replacing Gluten in recipes - pectin.


One of the first things I realised when cooking and baking gluten free all those years ago, was that the textures of foods and the way that the finished product 'behaves' suffers quite badly -unless the gluten is replaced with a viable alternative. Without a replacement, your finished products tend to crumble into a pitiful pile. These days I use xanthan gum in powder form. At one time it was like looking for gold dust - health food shops didn't stock it and buying over the internet was expensive. Thankfully, these days xanthan gum is readily available (Asda/Walmart stock it in their Gluten Free range) but even better, it is on the list of prescribable essentials - so depending on your circumstances and age, it can be absolutely free!


If you can't get your hands on this, or would like to try something a little different, try pectin. It is a little difficult to get your hands on the dried variety, and expensive. The liquid that you can buy is often not really suitable for some cooking purposes in the gluten free kitchen. The great news is, pectin is something that is really easy to make at home and is a by-product of something that you would normally throw in the bin.


When you are using cooking apples (for pies and crumbles) save the peelings. This is easily stored in the freezer for when you need to make your next batch of pectin. And here it is, who would have thought it would ever be so cheap and easy!


Pectin


Take the peel from one medium cooking apple into a small pan. Cover the peelings with a teacup of water and bring to the boil. Cook, uncovered for around 15 minutes, or, until the liquid has reduced to about 6 tablespoons. Strain this all through a wire mesh seive, pressing the peelings into it with the back of a wooden spoon and catching the juice strainings into the bowl that you have placed underneath.


Discard the apple peelings that are left in the seive and place the juices to one side to cool. When the liquid is cold it will be like a pale green, thin jelly.


Use this jelly as directed in recipes, but put 2 tbs of the pectin in to start with. After msixing it into a batter, for example, if it feels too thin, add the remaining tbs of pectin and it will thicken as you stir.


Obviously, the strength of your pectin depends soley on the apple chosen and how much you manage to extract from the whole cooking process.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Soul Food - Fried Chicken




Much loved and missed until I worked out how to make a batter that didn't crack and fall off the chicken! No more walking passed fried chicken restaurants and longing for this old favourite. I am loathed to post ammounts as regards the herbs and spices - because for this recipe I tend not to use measurements - so each time I make it it tastes slightly different. Feel free to alter the ammounts, add different herbs and spices or take some of my suggested ones out. The spice mix that is in this recipe is the one that we prefer - but we tweak it all of the time

Guru fried chicken

3 lbs of chicken cut into 8-10 pieces or drumsticks/ thighs
Crushed sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper

2tsp ground cloves
1tbsp Mixed Herbs
3 large eggs
7 cups of Gluten free flour

1 tbsp Xanthan Gum (to give the elasticity and stability to the batter)
vegetable oil for frying


Mix together the sea salt, black pepper, paprika, onion and garlic powder, cayenne pepper and herbs. Divide into 3 equal portions and sprinkle one portion over the chicken pieces. Make sure each piece of chicken is coated with seasoning. Cover with cling film and let stand for an hour.

Whisk the eggs in a bowl. Add one-third of the seasoning and beat to incorperate thoroughly.

Mix the remaining third of the seasoning with the flour. Add Xanthan Gum and stir well.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Dip each piece of chicken into the egg, then dip it into the seasoned flour. (best still, place the seasoned flour into a sturdy freezer bag, place chicken pieces in two at a time and shake to cover). I like to repeat this process, dip them once again into the egg, then back into the flour.

Fry the chicken in batches in the hot oil for 6-8 minutes or until each piece is well cooked and golden. If your chicken pieces are larger, fry until light golden and finish off in the oven until cooked through.
Recipe Notes:
For hotwings, simply add more Cayenne, chilli flakes or powder. For a bite to the flavour, you can add chopped fresh garlic or scallions. This batter also works very well with fish and prawns. As a time saver, make up larger batches of the seasoned flour mix in heavy duty frezzer bags, seal and store. They are ready to go when you make your next batch. Our local fried chicken restaurant is even kind enough to give us the odd bucket or box, so the kids really feel like they are having the whole experience (plus, no dishes - everyone is a winner! ) Also, try with strips of chicken breast, chicken dippers are a great addition to lunch boxes.

Friday, 18 May 2007

The comfort food that we miss most.... Yorkshire puddings.


Guru's Yummy Yorkshire puddings

115 g gluten-free self raising flour
142 ml milk
142 ml water
1 pinch of crumbled sea salt
1 medium egg (room temperature if possible)
30 g sunflower oil

Heat the oven to Gas mark 7 / 425 degree farenheit/220 degrees C

Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and crumble in sea salt: make a well in the centre of the flour

Crack the egg and approximately half the milk and water mixture into it.

Gradually work the flour into the egg, milk and water mixture to form a smooth creamy batter

Slowly add the rest of the milk and water mixture and then beat well.


Heat the oil in 8-10 yorkshire pudding or muffin tins or in a 23x18cm tray (9 inchx 7 inch tin) in the oven until the oil begins to smoke a little.

At the smoking stage, pour the batter into the tin, each section should be approximately a third to half full of batter.

Bake in the top of the oven until well risen and golden; about 20 minutes for small pudding or 45 mintues for a large pudding (which you can make in a cake tin).

Serve immediately with your Roast dinner or serve it with Maple syrup and icecream.

Recipe notes:

The larger yorkshire can be filled with stewed meat, roast beef and gravy, roast vegetables and onion gravy or roast peppers and Feta cheese. Alternatively, a great twist with this traditionally savoury accompaniment, fill with bananas and toffee sauce, or strawberries, cream and fruit coulis. Enjoy - your search for the much loved yorkshire pudding, sans gluten is over!

Waffley Good Waffles


Great for breakfasts, snacks and lunchboxes. Spread with butter, drizzle with syrup or create waffle sandwiches with cream cheese, ham, chives - the possibilities are endless!

This recipe will make a small mountain of waffels, they freeze well and toast back up to crispy in no time at all:

Gluten Free Guru's Waffely Good Waffles

180g/12oz Gluten Free flour
4 tsp Gluten Free Baking Powder
4 tbsp Oil or 6 oz of butter
1 tsp crumbled sea salt
4 separated eggs
12 fl oz milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp Icing sugar or any fine grade sugar

Switch on your waffle iron and set it to medium heat.


While the waffle iron is warming, sift all of your dry ingredients into a bowl

In a seperate bowl whisk together your Milk, Oil and egg yolks until well incorperated

In a small bowl, whisk your egg whites until fluffy and stiff, fold in the sugar.

Mix the egg yolk/oil mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients until well incorperated.

Fold in the egg white and sugare carefully

Spray the waffle iron with sunflower oil (I use the one calorie per spray oil) Take a ladle or a 1/3 of a cup of the batter and pour into the waffle iron and cook. 2 minutes gives a light golden waffle, you can cook them for up to four minutes to give a darker, crispier waffle.

Recipe notes:

You may add berries, finely diced apples, cinnamon etc to the batter, let you imagination run wild. Omit the sugar and add bacon pieces for a savoury twist. If you don't have a waffle iron, you can use the batter to make perfect pancakes. Serve with icecream, raspberry coulis and a sprig of mint. We have these most days, there is always a stack of waffles or pancakes in the freezer ready to warm up. Be warned though, they don't last long, so make as many batches as you can handle, the whole family snaffles them!